Monday, June 18, 2007


Tanglewood, in Santana Row in San Jose, is a fairly new restaurant that changes its menu based on available meats and produce. They're one of many Bay Area restaurants to ride the new trend of using locally produced food from small, sustainable farms and fisheries.

We visited Tanglewood for Sunday brunch and opted for their brunch menu rather than the regular luncheon, which also looked good. We ordered the Caramelized crispy French toast filled with orange cream and Vermont maple syrup, which came with scrambled eggs and housemade chicken apricot sausage; and the Eggs Benedict, with housemade Canadian bacon and hollandaise sauce, served with roasted potatoes.

Inside, Tanglewood is an elegant but restrained eating area focusing on wood decor, after its name. The tabletops are slabs of wood, polished on top but still rough around the edges. The staff were unfailingly polite even at the end of what must have been a long morning of Father's Day brunch crowds.

Normally when we get Sunday brunches, we walk away feeling stuffed. Tanglewood's version of brunch was very light for what it was, and delicious all around. The French toast was a thick square of brioche-like bread, filled with a light, subtle mixture of orange-infused cream, which tasted mostly like orange butter. The maple syrup was hard to pick out of the flavors, but the toast didn't suffer for that. The scrambled eggs were served in a lump more like an omelette, but still tasty, and the chicken apricot sausage was served in two small patties the size of silver dollars. Unlike most instances of chicken/fruit sausage, the apricot taste was strong, the texture nice and crumbly, the overall taste outstanding.

The distinguishing feature of the Eggs Benedict was the light, tasty Hollandaise sauce, as opposed to the thick cream I'm used to on this dish. The eggs, perfectly poached, had great flavor and went well with the Canadian bacon and the fluffy English muffin. My only complaint was that the Canadian bacon was so thin that the flavor got a little overwhelmed by the others; on its own it tasted fine. The potatoes were good, if not as outstanding as the main courses. Most impressively, the portions were just the right size for us (therefore probably slightly small for the average diner) and the prices weren't more than we'd expect from a nice Sunday brunch place--$10-12 for the meals.

Dinners at Tanglewood tend to run expensive. Try a lunch or Sunday brunch and you'll get great food at reasonable prices, and a chance to see their lovely interiors.

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